Most of us in South Africa is very familiar with Naspers and their wide range of businesses and industries they are involved in. But it’s not really a household name in the rest of the world. That’s why it’s exciting to us that Bob van Dijk, Naspers CEO will be talking at TechCrunch Disrupt, one of the biggest technology conferences in the world, focusing heavily on start-ups.
Naspers have come to the attention of the international tech industry through some of their investments, most specifically their early investment in Tencent. If you’re not aware, Tencent is the biggest gaming company in the world and Naspers still own a 31% stake in the Chinese business. That stake is valued at around $100 billion.
Naspers has started to spin off several of its businesses into separate entities as it gets involved in many different industries. It decided to create an international assets division, which now owns the Tencent shares alongside many other internet technology companies, including OLX and PayU. It was listed in the Netherlands as Prosus, or Prosus N.V., and is valued at about $115 billion at the moment.
A big difference with this company compared to other capital funds is that Naspers wants to focus more on late-stage investments, rather than the traditional approach of betting on many start-ups very early on. When betting on start-ups very early on, capital funds generally only need one or two out of ten bets to pay off as the early share value will significantly multiply in value if the company is successful. Prosus wants to invest in more established players that have proved the business model works.
Bob van Dijk’s presentation at TechCrunch Disrupt will shed more light on the South African technology industry, which can only be good for our local technology start-ups and economy.